I just saw that on Fox News. I know someone flying to Anchorage today to take a cruise next weekend. They will be on the Ryndam. Scary. They said that this particular ship has run aground 2 other times in the past 5 years. HMMM, makes you wonder about that captains navigating abilities.
The Empress of the North ran aground last year (March 2006) on the Columbia river (she got stuck on a sand bar). There were 2 minor incidents in 2003, the inaugural year. She got stuck on the Oregon bank of the Columbia river and she hit a lock.
Here´s an official statement by the cruise line, Majestic America Line
Empress of the North was designed along the lines of a classic river steamboat. As such she has a somewhat shallow draft and is more subject to vagaries of the wind and strong river currents. The fact that she is a sternwheeler also poses certain handling problems for the helmsman.
In fact the Empress of the North was especially designed for Alaska. She has no flat bottom hull but a V-shaped hull and a deeper draft. The main propulsion is not the paddlewheel which is just adding a bit to the speed but Z-drives. This is making her very maneuverable and she can turn around on the spot.
fneumeier-Thank You for the info,Empress of the North is an interesting design.The hull design with the deeper draft may add stability but would require her to stick to deeper channels.
Her propulsion must give her amazing handling characteristics. Unfortunately all these features apparently have not kept her out of trouble!
Enjoy your Dresden Cruise!